December 9, 2022
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Genius Sports, Premier League to Commercialize Player Skeletal Data – Sportico.com

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Genius Sports is expanding its data-capture relationship with the English Premier League, a move that will make information on players’ skeletal movements available to partners.

It’s part of a wider extension between the company (NYSE: GENI) and Football DataCo, the licensing agency that houses rights for the Premier League, English Football League and the Scottish Professional Football League. The group has been working with Genius Sports since for a few years, developing an official data feed that’s monetized via deals with sportsbooks, media companies and teams.

Financial specifics weren’t disclosed. As part of the new, expanded relationship, Genius Sports will build a player-tracking feed that captures data multiple times a second. It will also provide skeletal tracking of players across the English and Scottish leagues. 

That’s a big departure from much of what’s captured now, which is mostly center-of-mass tracking. That data set can give basic info such as speed of a runner, or distance traveled, but not more granular info such as the direction a player is facing, or which leg is used to shoot.

Those details have long had use for measuring physical exertion and injury prevention, but both Football DataCo and Genius Sports believe there are other, more commercial applications. That could mean more granular options for bettors, or enhanced replays and viewing options for fans. 

“This partnership is an important next step in demonstrating the way data and advanced technology can amplify storytelling and fan engagement,” Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke said in a statement. “Genius has believed deeply in this vision for many years, which is now becoming a reality in partnership with Football DataCo and the Premier League.”

The extension comes just a few weeks after Genius Sports and competitor Sportradar (Nasdaq: SRAD) settled multiple U.K. lawsuits over the Football DataCo relationship, data exclusivity and the use of “data scouts” to build unofficial feeds. Specifics of that settlement have not been made public.

Sports leagues and their data partners are constantly working to enhance their official data streams—it allows them to charge more for access, and also widens the gap between the official feeds and the unofficial (less expensive) feeds that are still used by some sportsbooks and media companies. Skeletal data is an example of a feature that is difficult to replicate without direct partnership with the league or teams.

Much of this will be captured by existing cameras via technology from Second Spectrum, which Genius Sports purchased last year for $200 million. Prior to the acquisition, Second Spectrum’s backers included Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, CAA Ventures and the Chernin Group.





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